Insect protein in animal feed - Insects offer a promising alternative to conventional protein sources for animal feed for fish and monogastric animals (poultry and pigs) as they are rich in protein. Depending on the insect species, protein levels can be up to 63% on a dry matter basis.
The process that is used to rear the insects as a source of protein can also provide other products such as fats/oils and chitin. The fats/oils can be used in animal feed or for other industrial processes. Chitin is another high value product with multiple uses that could, if technically and economically viable, be a product of the insect production process. Depending on the insect species used, there is also potential for the production of novel antimicrobials, but this area is at an early stage of research.
Fera has been involved in two projects to investigate the potential of insects as a source of protein in animal feed. The first of these was funded by Innovate UK with AB Agri as the lead industry partner. The second was funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. This project, known as PROteINSECT, was coordinated by Fera with 11 additional partners from across Europe, Africa (Ghana and Mali) and China. Fera has conducted research on insect rearing systems using its expertise in entomology and on the nutritional profile and safety of the insect protein and meat and fish from animals fed on a diet containing insect protein.
The principal sources of protein for animal feed are currently soya and fishmeal. However, as the world population increases and meat consumption becomes more widespread, there is an urgent need to identify and exploit novel sources of protein for inclusion in animal feed. Insects offer a promising alternative to conventional protein sources for fish and monogastric animals. Fly species are the most extensively researched insect order for mass production and utilisation as animal feed. Furthermore, they can utilise a wide range of organic waste substrates offering the potential for low economic and environmental costs for production.
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To speak with us about exploring insect protein in animal feed, please contact our recognised expert Dr Maureen Wakefield on +44 (0)1904 462579 or e-mail us at
Maureen Wakefield has over 15 years experience in applied entomology and is a leading expert in her field.
Telephone: +44 (0)1904 462579
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